Contact TheIPD.US




Regulatory Actions
View Public Comments
Submit Comments

NMFS ITA for Gulf of Mexico
NMFS Acoustic Guidelines
NMFS IHA for Scripps

Science
  Best Available Science on Acoustic Effects on Marine Mammals
  Seismic vs. Sonar
  Physical Effects
 Behavioral Effects
  Models
  Sound Propagation
  Mitigation
 Extrapolation From Terrestrial Mammal Acoustic Effects to Marine Mammals
  Cumulative and Synergistic Effects
 Indirect Effects

  NMFS
 MMS
 MMC
 NAS
  US Navy
 Sperm Whale Seismic Study
 ICES
 Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Institute
 NRDC
 ACCOBAMS
 The Acoustic Ecology Institute
 ASCOBANS
 Fisheries and Oceans Canada
 Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Limited

Library
  Statutes
 Regulations
 Relevant NMFS Permits
 Major Studies and Reports

Comment on IPD
  Potential Research Projects
  Research Underway
  Structure of the IPD

CRE Interventions
  Agency Administrative Actions
  Rulemaking
  Litigation



















 

Soundings Archive

CRE Responds to NGO Comments on BOEMRE's Revised Take Application
CRE has sharply criticized NGO comments to the National Marine Fisheries Service on regulation of seismic in the Gulf of Mexico. CRE seeks comments on our criticism of the NGOs' positions.

On June 14, 2011, NMFS published notice that the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement had submitted to NMFS a revised application for Take authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This revised Take application applies to oil and gas seismic operations in the Gulf of Mexico. NMFS' Federal Register notice soliciting public comment on this revised Take application is available online at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-06-14/html/2011-14742.htm .

Several NGO environmental and conservation groups filed joint comments on this revised Take application. These NGO comments argue that current regulation does not adequately protect GOM marine mammals from oil and gas seismic. Their comments provide very little factual support for this argument. They do, however, claim that the Sperm Whale Synthesis Report shows adverse effects on sperm whale foraging.

The NGO comments are available online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/permits/boemre_comments2011.pdf.

The Sperm Whale Synthesis Report is available online at http://www.gomr.boemre.gov/PI/PDFImages/ESPIS/4/4444.pdf.

CRE has prepared a response to these NGO comments which argues that they are incorrect with regard to harm. Seismic does not harm sperm whales or any other marine mammals under current regulation. The Sperm Whale Synthesis Report does not support adverse foraging effects. A technical analysis of the foraging data reveals many flaws, and other sound studies show no effect on whale foraging. NMFS recently concluded in its biological opinion for another seismic Take application that the Synthesis Report and other studies suggest that seismic does NOT affect Sperm Whale foraging:

    "These studies suggest that sperm whales exhibit considerable tolerance of seismic sources (e.g., no apparent disruption of behaviors such as foraging or calling), or possibly some degree of habituation."
This NMFS biological opinion is available online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/consultations/biop_usgs2011.pdf.

NMFS' biological opinion also concluded:
    "The evidence available leads us to conclude that exposure to seismic pulse energy from the proposed seismic activities is not likely to cause a reduction in an individual whale's growth, survival, annual reproductive success, or lifetime reproductive success (i.e., fitness). As a result, we do not expect the proposed action to have an effect on the extinction risk of the population(s) these individuals represent or the whale species these population(s) comprise."
Id.

CRE is sending its response to appropriate representatives of NMFS and BOEMRE. CRE is also sending its response to the NGOs who submitted these comments.

CRE will post on this IPD website and other CRE websites any comments on our response.
  • Click here to read CRE's response to NGO comments on BOEMRE's revised take application
  •  
    Copyright 2005 The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness.
    All rights reserved.